A federal judge has thrown out a would-be class action suit that alleged Mercedes-Benz misled consumers about emissions from its "BlueTec Clean Diesel" models.
The decision was not based on whether or not the diesels live up to the company's advertising claims but rather on whether the plaintiffs had legal standing to bring the case. New Jersey U.S. District Judge Jose Linares said the plaintiffs did not have standing because they failed to show that they had actually seen any of the ads that allegedly misled them, according to an Automotive News report.
The judge left the door open for the plaintiffs to amend their filing and attorney Steve Berman said he would do just that.
"We will amend to satisfy the court’s direction and are confident we can do so. Make no mistake, there has to be a legal remedy for the tens of thousands of Mercedes diesel owners who are unwittingly driving cars that exceed any promise of 'Clean Diesel' that Mercedes made, and which are exceeding U.S. emission standards," said Berman, managing partner of the Hagens Berman law firm.
The suit was filed in February by owners of BlueTec models in 13 states, alleging that the company was using a "defeat device" to cheat emissions testing. Mercedes heatedly denied the charges.
"We consider this class action lawsuit to be unfounded. Our position remains unchanged: A component that inadmissibly reduces emissions is not used in Mercedes-Benz vehicles," it said in a statement.
In April, the U.S. Justice asked Mercedes to examine its emission certification process and the automaker said it would be cooperative while continuing to deny any wrongdoing.
The BlueTec system uses urea to eliminate nitric oxide fumes from vehicle emissions.
Diesel engines have been under scrutiny since Volkswagen admitted to rigging its diesel cars to pass emissions tests while polluting at levels far above legal standards the rest of the time. VW has agreed to pay $15 billion in settlements and still faces potential criminal prosecution in the U.S., as well as numerous lawsuits in other countries.